File photo: Lieutenant Colonel Paul-Henri Damiba, who led Burkina Faso's military coup in January, arrives to be sworn in for a second time as president in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso on March 2, 2022. © Anne Mimault, Reuters

Burkina Faso’s interim president Paul-Henri Damiba has approved a new government that includes the same defence minister as served under former president Roch Kabore before his ouster in a military coup, an official decree showed on Saturday.

Damiba was inaugurated on Wednesday as transitional president for three years, after leading a group of officers to oust Kabore in January. They said they were motivated by frustration about mounting violence by Islamist militants.

The new government of 25 ministers includes Defence Minister General Barthelemy Simpore, who has retained the position he held under Kabore, according to the decree.

The appointment of economist Albert Ouedraogo as the West African nation’s transitional prime minister was announced on Thursday.

Burkina Faso’s military coup was the fourth in West Africa in 18 months, following two in Mali and one in Guinea, after a period of democracy that had raised hopes the region could shed its reputation as the continent’s ‘coup belt.’

The new authorities will have to try to contain the violent Islamist insurgency that has overrun swathes of Burkinabe territory and drained scarce national resources.

(REUTERS)

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